Lessons Integrating Information and Communication Technology within a Curriculum Area


Lauchie MacKinnon


Social stories

Grade Level

7 to 9

Subject Area

Special Education

Overview of unit/lessons/activities (assumptions of prior knowledge/learning)

This lesson is designed to encourage students with developmental disabilities to participate in their social story writing.  Students with disabilities can take a larger role in developing and writing their social stories.  There are a variety of social story type’s social stories using assistive technology software such as Writing Symbols and Board Maker. A word processor, digital video or still camera, scanner, or clipart can help create them as well.  Technology such as video cameras provides opportunities for friends of children with autism to participate in creation, writing and editing of social stories.

Correlations to ICT and curriculum outcomes

Language Arts

Projected timeline for preparation and for carrying out activities

Social stories can take as little as a half-hour, to about two hours or more to make a video

Equipment Requirements: (computers, software, etc)

Digital still or video camera



Word processor or symbol system maker

Video editing software

Teaching materials provided (Blacklines, worksheets, templates, teacher materials)

Halloween Social Story using symbols (Halloween_social_story_symbol.htm)

John say thank you at Halloween (john.pdf)

Resources available for teacher/student use (websites, references, etc)

http://www.polyxo.com/socialstories/introduction.html                  *** Gives examples of how to write them & explanations

http://www.autism.org/stories.html                                                    *** the technical explanation of a social story  

 http://www.thegraycenter.org/                                                         *** Mrs. Carroll Gray is the inventor of the social story

Detailed instructions for each activity or lesson (teacher notes, activity information, learning strategies, teacher role, student roles)

Refer to the web sites above before starting if you are unfamiliar with writing social stories. 

Take pictures (or download images for which you have obtained permission)  from a camera, scanner, or the Internet.

Open a word processor file and insert the picture. 

Underneath the pictures, write captions. 

The story can then be turned into a book that the student can read.  It is important that the language be easily understood and the story use positive, specific language to describe the situation you are trying to change.


Video social stories are an even more visual way of achieving the same goals. Some still cameras have video capabilities.  The easiest way to shoot these videos as is as one long scene with no edits.  Teachers and students with more advanced skills might use digital editing software such as Final Cut in Macintosh or Pinnacle Video editing software on a PC to place titles music, and captions throughout the video. 


Using a symbol word processor (Writing Symbols 2000) you can write social stories with symbols for students who do not read.  Anyone who can use a word processor can use a symbol processor.  The student can help write the stories by typing in the words with the teacher's help or with a peer.

Student products expected

The students will produce a social story using a video or still camera and / or word or symbols processor

Samples (include teacher notes, assessment information, student work if available)


Logistics (organization, grouping, management issues, access to technology)

Deep Freeze (software) can be a problem with saving materials. Cameras or computers can be a limiting factor is important to plan ahead to make sure students work on different stages at different times.  Not all families are interested in having their children with autism work with their peers in creating social stories.  Get parental permission first.  If this is an issue, take a social skills book and have students act out or recreate social skills books and make this part of your PDR program.  This can also be incorporated in English language arts and drama.

Assessment information (e.g., rubrics for products and/or process)

Video: quality of video, quality of acting, understanding of issue, written script, understanding of social stories

Story: composition of pictures, grammar, content, spelling, understanding of social stories

Symbol Word Processor: grammar, spelling, content, understanding of social stories

Possible extensions

Could be used to support students with behavioral issues

Could be used to support classroom rules to provide positive examples

Can be used in PDR talk about bullying and other social issues.

Adaptations for students requiring additional support


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